|Ã‚Â Cincinnati RedsÃ‚Â Ã‚Â (19-21)
|Ã‚Â Philadelphia PhilliesÃ‚Â Ã‚Â (17-22)
|Ã‚Â W: Ã‚Â Simon (5-2) Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â L: Kendrick (0-4) Ã‚Â Ã‚Â S: Chapman (2)|
|Ã‚Â Box ScoreÃ‚Â | Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Play-by-PlayÃ‚Â Ã‚Â |Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â PhotosÃ‚Â Ã‚Â |Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Depth ChartÃ‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â |Ã‚Â Ã‚Â FanGraphs Win Probability|
Friday morning began with the disheartening and gloomy report that Joey Votto hadn’t made the trip to Philadelphia. A feeling of dread pelted Redleg Nation the rest of the day. It was hard to gin up much optimism about tonight’s game against the Phillies.
Manager Bryan Price sent the Cincinnati Reds onto the field without either superstar, Joey Votto or Jay Bruce, for the first time since September 2012. In their place were journeymen Brayan PeÃƒÂ±a and Skip Schumaker. Mat Latos hasn’t played real baseball in 2014 and tonight was his turn to pitch. In his stead was Alfredo Simon, who was last seen getting demolished by the Colorado Rockies.
Then just before game time, the storm clouds – real and metaphorical – parted and the downpour stopped.
And shortly afterward, Devin Mesoraco, playing in his home state, blasted a two-out, three-run homer over the left field fence of Citizens Bank Park. It was Mesoraco’s first at bat after time on the disabled list and he crushed Kyle Kendrick’s 88-mph fastball. But it felt like more than a simple home run.
It was a shot across the bow.
It signaled to the National League – and to Reds fans – that they shouldn’t count out the Cincinnati Reds just because their best players were injured. Remember 2012.
Alfredo Simon added a masterful performance over 7.2 innings. He allowed only six Phillies to reach base and struck out eight. In particular, in the third inning, with runners at first and third and one out, he struck out Chase Utley and Ryan Howard on six pitches. In the fifth inning, with a runner at second base and two outs, he struck out Carlos Ruiz on three pitches.
Manny Parra struck out Ryan Howard on a nasty breaking ball to end the Phillies eighth-inning rally.
Only that the Reds have to wait 21 hours to lace ’em up again.
Not so random thoughts
I’m glad Mesoraco was batting fifth instead of sixth or seventh.